An effective, efficient procure-to-pay process is an essential ingredient if you want to help run a successful company. Pete Loughlin, from Purchasing Insight, agrees,“Purchase to pay processes sit squarely behind processes that serve the customer most effectively.” It shouldn’t stop there. P2P success depends on your organization’s ability to use it to help renew and adapt in a rapidly changing environment. That agility is enabled by two things: 1) dynamic capability—speed, nimbleness, and responsiveness; and 2) a stable core with automation and standardization. The trick is to strike a balance both. Do you really want a “no PO, no pay” mentality where it may not be needed?
Instead of settling for rigid, controlling software and processes that stifle communication and innovation, choose technology that can be flexible and support your business requirements and your processes naturally, yet ensure controls and compliance. To get specific, here are three aspects of procure to pay that promote business agility and growth rather than slow it down, or simply play a supporting role:
1. Direct, seamless collaboration
From purchase order to payment, your AP team, suppliers, managers, and employees should be able to chat and collaborate in a system about any document or processes. No more emailing, faxing, or waiting and wondering. Exception resolution should be a breeze. While straight-through processing should be the goal, in cases where it’s not possible, it should still be easy to get transaction flows completed in any number of ways with lightning-quick processing times.
2. You have an idea factory at your disposal
Good suppliers want your company to be successful and want to help you by sharing innovation and insights. They are there to understand your business needs and help you select the right product or service to meet your purposes. Procure-to-pay collaboration tools like those provided by Tradeshift ensure that buyers and suppliers can have a dialogue about what the buying company needs, enabling the supplier to help provide the right solution. As strategic partnerships form and supplier engagement increase, you gain unique benefits, like access to your supplier’s best people, to the resources required to serve account relationships, get preferred access to your supplier’s latest technological advances, more favorable terms, share risk, and priority over resources or production capacity in times of scarcity. In all, a vital strategic advantage.
3. You’re ready to meet challenges and seize opportunities down the road
Instead of investing in multiple solutions, why not go with one that has an intuitive user experience, provides value to your suppliers, and is open and extensible? A one-and-done you might call it. A platform like Tradeshift that offers third-party applications can allow you to extend your procure-to-pay processes as they evolve and pivot to continually support your company’s product and/or service roadmap.
Here’s a recap of the key points to look for in a solution from our four-part procure-to-pay pillar series:
- Shoot to get as much spend under management
- Allow for barrier-free business without sacrificing compliance
- Get all your suppliers on one system, in one place
- Supplier collaboration and solution extensibility allows you to add value and to innovate
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